Couple lose appeal against rejection of plans for home near St Boswells

An appeal against proposals for a new house near St Boswells being rejected by planners has been dismissed.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 3:51 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 4:08 pm
The site of a home proposed near Maxton House by Richard and Allison Thomas.

Richard and Allison Thomas, giving their address as Chemins Des Perrailles in the Swiss village of Perroy, want to build a home near Maxton House but have been told they can’t.

Their proposals were rejected by Scottish Borders Council planning officers, and now their appeal against that knockback has been thrown out too by the authority’s local review body.

A planning statement, submitted by Edinburgh-based Liston Architects, reads: “The site fits well into the pattern of the group of houses between St Boswells and Maxton and is well suited for development.

Indicative designs for a home proposed by Richard and Allison Thomas near Maxton House.

“Using traditional materials and contemporary architectural forms, the new house will be well adapted to its site and sensitively designed to enhance the place.”

The application was only for planning in principle, so no confirmed building plans were submitted, but the Thomases’ indicative plans still attracted 10 objections, with nearby residents complaining about the state of the road, access to a cemetery close by, poor visibility at the access to the site and the scale and design of the home proposed.

Those plans were given the thumbs-down by council planners, and that decision was upheld on appeal by the authority’s local review body at its meeting last week.

In a statement to the committee, planning officer Julie Hayward wrote: “It is considered that the site is not a logical addition to the building group, with no relationship with the public road and divorced from the existing housing, outwith that sense of place.

“In addition, the proposal would break into a previously undeveloped field and its location would not respect the spacing between existing properties within the building group.

“There is no economic or agricultural justification for a dwelling house on this site, within the area designated as countryside around towns.

“The proposal is therefore contrary to the 2016 local development plan.

Councillors largely disagreed with their officers’ opinion that the site is outwith the existing building group there, pointing out how close the proposed home would be to other houses.

However, councillors generally felt the loss of a green field did not outweigh that argument.

East Berwickshire councillor Helen Laing said: “There doesn’t appear to be much of a distance from the other houses, so in terms of the building group argument I can see how that could be considered to be part of the building group.

“I’m more worried about the field as it’s moving into an undeveloped green field.

“I’m concerned about the open field and the building not really relating to the sense of place.

“I’m a little bit torn, but I’m leaning towards agreeing with the officers because I don’t feel it fits well with the other houses and the surrounding fields.”

Hawick and Denholm councillor Clair Ramage agreed, saying: “The main issue for me is: is it within the building group?

“Although it’s near the houses, they are breaking into an undeveloped field.”

Councillors agreed to uphold their officers’ refusal of the application by three votes to two.